If you’ve never been inside a prison, your impression of it probably comes from sensationalized Hollywood fare. Describing all the things wrong about these depictions would take another whole post. Suffice it to say, one of the most important things for the men and women overcrowded inside (so crowded the ACLU has sued the state) is to give them opportunities to learn, grow, change, think, and stay sane. Since a high percentage of the people currently incarcerated in the state will return to our communities within a few years, we all have an interest in helping these individuals. (The average length of stay in Nebraska prisons is 1.84 years, or 22.12 months.)
State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks understands this, and has proposed LB625 to appropriate an additional $5.8 million to the Nebraska Department of Corrections for programming–prison programming covers topics such as parenting skills, anger management, developing healthy lifestyles, and addiction recovery. The money from LB625 could be used for offering such programs, adding portable structures to hold these programs, and staffing costs for programming. The hearing is tomorrow (!) Monday, March 18 in Room 1524 at 1:30 (Appropriations Committee). If you want to learn more about what types of programming are provided inside our state’s penitentiaries , check out this list of non-clinical programming. If you would like to hear one volunteer’s perspective, contact Julia Schleck (firstname.lastname@example.org), Fran Kaye (email@example.com), or Marge Schlitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).